Means of Descent. An interview with Robert Caro, author of The Power Broker and the series The Years of Lyndon Johnson. An examination of power, getting things done, and the human costs of doing so. [more inside]
"And on the Seventh Day, He gave a Barbecue." - Based on the 1969 book of the same name, The Begatting of The President is a parody Biblical retelling of the fall of Johnson and the rise of Nixon as narrated by Orson Welles. [Youtube playlist]
Flying on Air Force One the day Kennedy died: "In the small aft cabin, behind the bedroom, Sergeant Ayres is removing two rows of seats to make room for a casket. ... Johnson then asks [Robert] Kennedy where he should take the oath of office and what its exact words are. The questions are met with silence before Kennedy replies that he will find out and call back. He hangs up." Esquire [more inside]
The Perils of Precocity by Thomas Beller.
Perhaps slightly obscurred by its charmingly primitive web design, my new favorite website is a fantastic reference resource for delving into American speeches that have changed history as well as discovering new amazing ones. [more inside]
LBJ v. Coke Stevenson: Lawyering for Control of the Disputed Texas Democratic Party Senatorial Primary Election of 1948
This article explores the history, from the lawyers' perspective [PDF; 41 pages], of a high-profile litigation of sixty years ago, the whirlwind of state and federal litigation that attended the 1948 runoff election battle between Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and former Texas governor Coke Stevenson for the Texas Democratic Party nomination for the office of United States Senator. Johnson famously won this election by 87 votes [...] [more inside]
"In 1964, Lyndon Johnson needed pants, so he called the Haggar clothing company and asked for some. The call was recorded (like all White House calls at the time), and has since become the stuff of legend. Johnson’s anatomically specific directions to Mr. Haggar are some of the most intimate words we’ve ever heard from the mouth of a President." From Put This On. (Via).
Liz Carpenter, Texas humorist, women's rights crusader and aide to Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, dies at 89 [more inside]
Last week on Bill Moyers Journal LBJ tapes were presented detailing Lyndon Johnson's decision to escalate American involvement in Vietnam. Moyers connected these tapes with the current U.S. administration's quest for a solution in the Afghan War. [more inside]
Lyndon Johnson believed that his withdrawal from the 1968 presidential campaign would free him to solidify his legacy—but four days later, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson passed away today. During her infancy, a nursemaid commented, "She's as pretty as a ladybird", and that nickname virtually replaced her given name for the rest of her life. Perhaps her most important impact was her efforts to protect American wild-flowers and other natural places. She is also the namesake of the Hill family dog.
On his deathbed, the former CIA spymaster E. Howard Hunt made a startling confession. Or so says his son, Saint...Maybe the Zapruder film can tell us if there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll. Or was that a hoax too?
“How could this happen to someone so good, so competent?” he said. “This war made me doubt the past. Was I wrong all those years, or was he just better back then? The Donald Rumsfeld of today is not the Donald Rumsfeld I knew, but maybe I was wrong about the old Donald Rumsfeld. It’s a terrible way to end a career. It’s hard to remember, but he was once the future.”And for comparison, How did so many smart guys make such a mess of Vietnam?
LBJ and the helium filled astronaut. In 1964, the Skylab project wanted to send a phone call to the president. They had a hard time convincing the operators to put the call through. (g2 real audio link from npr) But today, 2 college students in florida discovered that helium can be dangerous.